Political Science Courses

American Politics

PSC 102 – American Politics
PSC 103 – Contemporary Issues in Public Policy
PSC 208 – Introduction to the Law
PSC 335W – Presidency
PSC 336W – Judicial Behavior and Politics
PSC 337 – Legislative Politics and Political Parties
PSC 355S – Constitutional Law and Politics
PSC 356 – Civil Rights and Liberties

Comparative & International Politics

PSC 110 – Introduction to Comparative Politics
PSC 111 – Global Politics
PSC 310 – US Foreign Policy
PSC 311 – International Conflict and Conciliation
PSC 324S – International Law and Organizations
PSC 325 – Politics of the European Union
PSC 331 – Democracy and Ethnic Conflict
PSC 395 – Special Topics - Comparative Capitalism

General Courses

PSC 258 - Political Analysis
PSC 473 - Seminar in Political Science (Senior Seminar)

Course Descriptions

PSC 102: An introductory course on American politics including topics such as the foundations of the Constitution, federalism, government institutions, public opinion, elections, and the media. Offered every semester.

PSC 103: This course covers the process of policy analysis and change in America. Topics covered include education, criminal justice, social welfare, health care, and the environment. Offered every Fall semester.

PSC 110: This course is an introduction to the analysis and comparison of politics in foreign countries, with an emphasis on topics such as variations in democratic constitutions, democratic stability, political violence, and economic development. Foundations/Social Sciences. Offered every Fall.

PSC 111: An introduction to the political, economic, and security issues that have influenced the development and power of states in the international system. Topics include wars, trade, international organizations, intervention, globalization, human rights, and terrorism. Foundations/Social Sciences. Offered every Spring.

PSC 208: An interdisciplinary examination of the law, legal change, criminal justice, the roles of lawyers and juries, and the American judicial system. Special attention is also given to conducting legal research. This course satisfies the career component of Trek. Offered Fall semesters of odd years.

PSC 310: This class surveys the origins and consequences of US policy toward other countries and the international system. It covers the options and tools available to political leaders, the influence of domestic politics on foreign policy decisions, and successes and failures of US policy. Foundations/Social Sciences.

PSC 311: This course is about the causes and consequences of international conflict and cooperation. Topics include inter-state war, military interventions, terrorism, as well as developing patterns of war, peacemaking, and conflict prevention. Prerequisite: PSC 111 or professor’s permission. Challenge/Social Science/Expanding our Circle.

PSC 324S: An introduction to the basic principles of public international law and the functions of international organizations such as the United Nations and the International Criminal Court. After an overview of the main areas and functions of international law, the course examines the possibilities, obstacles, and politics of international law by focusing intensively on international tools of human rights enforcement and transitional justice. Specific topics include transnational organizations, international NGOs, international criminal tribunals, truth commissions, universal jurisdiction, and state sovereignty. Offered Spring of odd years.

PSC 325: This class approaches European politics from two perspectives. First is the analysis and comparison of European political systems, patterns, and conflicts, such as parliamentary systems, political economy, varieties of democracy, citizenship, and immigration. Second is the European Union, including its supranational structures, political and economic consequences of the Euro, and tensions with member states. Prerequisite: PSC 110, PSC 111, or professor’s permission. Foundations/Social Sciences. Offered Spring of even years.

PSC 327: An investigation of the nature of national and ethnic identities, and how these identities can shape and cause conflict. Using a variety of examples from around the world, also addresses how governments and other actors can moderate or exacerbate these conflicts. Challenge/Social Sciences/Expanding our Circle. No longer offered.

PSC 329W: An overview of the challenges involved for a country making a transition to a democratic system from authoritarianism. Using examples from Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East, covers topics such as designing constitutions, dealing with legacies of human rights violations, avoiding instability and violence, and carrying out effective elections. Writing course. No longer offered.

PSC 331: An investigation two of the most important sources of collective identity and conflict in the world today: nationalism and ethnicity. What is the connection between nationalism and democracy? What are nations and why can nationalism be a significant political problem, particularly for democracies? What are ethnic groups, what is ethnic conflict, and what causes it to become violent? Topics include theories of nationalism and ethnicity, links between nationalism, ethnicity, and democratic success, and political mechanisms for managing or resolving these conflicts. Examples come from Europe, India, Africa, and the Middle East. Challenge/Social Sciences/Expanding Our Circle. Offered Fall of even years.

PSC 334: The influences of political parties and legislative institutions on the American political system are examined throughout the nation’s history. Special attention is given to the development and evolution of political parties, partisanship in elections, party leadership in Congress, and legislative coalition building. Offered Fall semesters of odd years.

PSC 335W: This course focuses on the role of the presidency in the American political system, the evolution of the presidency, relationships between the president and Congress, and the president’s involvement in crafting public policy. Offered Fall semesters of even years.

PSC 336W: How do judges make their decisions? What impact do these decisions have? What is the role of the judiciary in the American political system? These questions are addressed with special attention on the Supreme Court in addition to lower federal courts. Offered Fall semesters of even years.

PSC 355S: A reading of Supreme Court decisions sheds light on the Constitutional arrangement of the American government. Topics include federalism, separation of powers, the commerce clause, and taxing and spending powers. Offered Fall semesters of odd years.

PSC 356: The Constitutional protections of civil liberties and civil rights are analyzed through an examination of Supreme Court decisions. Topics include freedoms of speech, religion and the press, racial and gender equality, the right to privacy, and the rights of criminal defendants. Offered Spring semesters of even years.

PSC 395 - Comparative Capitalism: This new course covers different forms of political economy, or patterns of relationships between states and the economy. It concentrates on differences among democratic, capitalist countries in Europe, Japan, and the United States, and also covers capitalist systems in poorer, developing countries. Topics covered include welfare systems, government coordination with and regulation of businesses and workers, and different strategies to bring about growth, stability, and equality. Offered Fall of even years.